Bideford and the River Torridge now have Heritage Harbour status thanks to tireless campaigning by ten local charities led by Way of the Wharves, a Bideford based organisation. It is hoped that this new status will bolster preservation and development, as well as bringing stories of the region’s maritime history to light.
Speaking about the news, the Maritime Heritage Trust said: “This emphasises the great value in sensitively developing historic buildings, wastelands, mooring and maintenance facilities for both local and visiting historic vessels.”
Mike Teare, chairman of the charity Way of the Wharves, told reporters: “This decision is of huge significance for our area, not only for highlighting out magnificent maritime heritage but for developing Bideford and Torridge as an attractive place to live, work and visit.”
Despite its historic status, the harbour remains a thriving shipyard, at one point, Bideford was one of Britain’s largest port and services a variety of industries, including timber, emigration, pottery, coal, gravel, fishing, agriculture, tourism and more. One example of the region’s heritage can be seen at the SS Freshpring, which is located in Bideford harbour and is the last of the 14 Fresh Class water carriers built in the 1940s. You can visit the ship on Sundays from April to October. Find out more below.
Photo from SS Freshpring.